In October, we saw a rare occurrence in the world of wine. A wine that went up for auction actually broke a world record, thus becoming the most valuable bottle in its category.
Unfortunately, for all Italian wine fans, the wine wasn’t a bottle from a major Italian producer. Instead, it was a bottle of Romanee-Conti Burgundy that was made in 1945. The wine was one of only 600 produced, the vast majority of which were consumed many moons ago.
The reason behind the huge sale is that Romanee-Conti’s Burgundy is considered by many to be among the very best in the world. Couple that with the wine’s age and rarity and you have the perfect recipe for a huge price tag. Furthermore, the wine was made just prior to the vineyards used to grow the grapes being uprooted to make room for the planting of new vines. That means it’s literally impossible to find a newer Burgundy that’s made using grapes from the same vine as this one came from.
And a huge price tag it was. This stunning red went up for sale in New York at the famous Sotheby’s auction house.
The end price was a staggering $558,000.
The remarkable thing about this sale is that nobody expected the wine to reach such heights. It went into auction with a reserve price of “just” $32,000. The final sale price means that the wine attracted about 17 times its own reserve.
It also more than doubled the previous record for a single bottle of wine sold at auction. The previous world record holder was an 1869 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, which sold for $223,000 at an auction in Hong Kong.
Interestingly, the wine wasn’t the only record breaker at the auction. On the same day, a bottle of The Macallan 1926 whiskey sold for an astonishing $843,200. That’s the highest price that the auction house had ever managed to achieve for a single spirit. However, it’s not the world record for a bottle of whiskey.
All of this interesting news got the Xtrawine thinking. We’ve seen the breaking of a world record that’s stood for about 8 years.
But what other wine-related world records exist that you might find interesting?
Here’s just a small sample of some other records that relate to the wine industry.
The Most Expensive Bottle of White Wine
As well as being the most expensive bottle of wine, the 1945 Romanee-Conti Burgundy has also become the world record holder for the most expensive bottle of red wine.
If we take away that larger record and split wines into red and white categories, that means there’s room for another record holder.
The highest-priced white wine of all time is an 1811 Château d’Yquem. Another French classic, this wine dates back all of the way to the rule of Napoleon, making it one of the oldest wines in existence today. Still, it “only” managed to command a price of $75,000, which shows the value that many ascribe to red wines over whites.
The Biggest Bottle of Champagne
While there are many alluring individual wines, there’s perhaps no category of wine that’s more revered that Champagne. It’s universally seen as a celebratory wine that’s only recently shed its association with the upper classes to become more accessible. Even so, it’s not a wine that many drink as an aperitif or with meals. Instead, it’s something to drink at parties, weddings, and other major celebrations.
It’s no new thing for producers to make absolutely enormous bottles of Champagne. We’ve seen variants that range in size from three litres all of the way up to 12.
But the king of the castle and largest bottle of Champagne ever made is the 30-litre Midas bottle produced by Armand de Brignac.
Interestingly, this bottle of wine was not a one-time publicity stunt. In fact, it’s available commercially. However, the cost associated with it is a long way away from what most people would want to pay. That makes it as much of a status symbol as anything else, though it’s one that many would like to have.
The Biggest Champagne Glass
If you’re going to buy the world’s largest bottle of Champagne, you’re going to need a pretty hefty glass to pour it all into.
ART Glass stepped up to create a glass that stands at 1.34m tall. Of course, a glass means little if it can’t hold wine and the company wasn’t able to claim the record until they proved that you could actually use the glass.
All told, that managed to pour 75 750ml bottles of wine into the glass to claim the record. That’s almost large enough to hold two entire bottles of the Midas, though we can’t even imagine how you would start drinking out of the glass.
The Tallest Champagne Glass Tower
If a movie ever wants to show off the opulence of a scene, you’ll see a Champagne glass tower. These remarkable structures are a highlight whenever you see them, but it’s the record break among them that really takes the cake.
The largest Champagne glass tower was 63 stories high and required more than 43,500 glasses to build. That’s certainly enough to hold all of the Champagne that you’re pour out of a Midas bottle. But we hesitate to think what might have happened if some unfortunate soul had bumbled into the structure.
The Most Wine Glasses Held in a Single Hand
Have you ever thought that holding just one wine glass wasn’t enough?
That’s clearly the thought that must have gone through Reymond Adina’s mind before he accomplished his incredible feat. Adina managed to hold an amazing 39 wine glasses in just one hand. We’re not sure just how many of those he could have taken a sip out of, but it’s an impressive record whichever way you slice it.
The Final Word
The sale of the 1945 Romanee-Conti Burgundy may have broken a record. But there are plenty more out there for wine lovers to enjoy.
Who knows when we’ll see another bottle sell for as much as this one? Sotheby’s – and the bottle’s original owner – must be rubbing their hands in glee.